Isolation of Novel Large and Aggregating Bacteriophages

  • Philip Serwer
  • Shirley J. Hayes
  • Julie A. Thomas
  • Borries Demeler
  • Stephen C. Hardies
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 501)


Viruses are detected via either biological properties such as plaque formation or physical properties. The physical properties include appearance during microscopy and DNA sequence derived from community sequencing. The assumption is that these procedures will succeed for most, if not all, viruses. However, we have found that some bacteriophages are in a category of viruses that are not detected by any of these classical procedures. Given that the data already indicate viruses to be the “largest reservoir of unknown genetic diversity on earth,” the implied expansion of this reservoir confirms the belief that the genome project has hardly begun. The first step is to fill gaps in our knowledge of the biological diversity of viruses, an enterprise that will also help to determine the ways in which (a) viruses have participated in evolution and ecology and (b) viruses can be made to participate in disease control and bioremediation. We present here the details of procedures that can be used to cultivate previously undetectable viruses that are either comparatively large or aggregation-prone.

Key Words

Agarose gel dilute agarose gel structure of bacteriophage propagation microbial diversity microbial genomics 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Serwer
    • 1
  • Shirley J. Hayes
    • 1
  • Julie A. Thomas
    • 1
  • Borries Demeler
    • 1
  • Stephen C. Hardies
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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